Top 10 Food Borne Illnesses

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According to the National Digestive Information Clearinghouse, 76 million people in the US are affected by Food Borne Illnesses. Out of the 70 million people affected, 5000 die from renal failures and food poisoning caused by the illnesses. If you feel excessive abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, you may have one of the following ten food borne illnesses.
1. E-coli:

E-coli (or Ecoli 0157: H7) is a bacteria that lives in human and animal intestines which produces Shiga toxins that lead to illnesses in humans. Although it is commonly found in cows, chickens, deer, sheep and pig are also known to carry it. Major sources of the bacteria are food, water, animals and people. Although the disease usually goes away within 1 week, it causes kidney failure when left untreated.
Notable Incidents: Walkerton, ON (2000)-7 deaths; Germany (2011)-35 deaths as of June 15, 2011


2. Listeria:

Although Listeria bacteria are mostly found in food, it has been present in vegetation, water, sewage and faeces of humans and animals as well. It mostly affects pregnant women, the elderly and those who have weak immune systems. According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, pregnant women are 20% more likely to be affected by the Listeria bacteria. Some of the consequences of the disease are brain problems which lead to deaths. Major signs of listeria include vomiting, cramps, fever, diarrhoea and severe headaches.
Notable Incidents: Maple Leaf Incident (2008)-23 deaths; 57 ill


3. Mad Cow Disease:

This food borne illness is caused by a neurological virus in a cow that degenerates the brain and spinal cord. It is easily transmitted to humans. If infected through digestion, humans can carry the human equivalent: Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). According to Health Canada statistics there have 180 cases of Mad Cow Disease since the 1990s. Between 2003 and 2008, there were 8.
Notable Incidents: Alberta (2003), Great Britain (2009)-166 people affected


4. Hepatitis A:

Hepatitis A is the inflammation in the liver caused by alcohol, medicine, chemicals and poison. It could be caused by food that was previously touched by a person affected with the virus. Uncooked and raw shellfish exposed to sewage also is a major source of the virus. It usually heals within 1 week without any long term damage. With vaccines and excellent anti-bodies, Hepatitis A incidents have decreased.
Notable Incidents: Regions such as Africa and Asia, where sanitation is poor or absence, Hepatitis A still prevails.


5. Salmonella:

This parasite and bacteria found in animal, bird and human intestines is another prevalent food borne illness. The major symptom of Salmonella is fever which arises 24 to 72 after coming into contact with contaminated food. There are three major ways to spread it: 1) person to person; 2) animal to person; 3) food coming into contact with people. There have been cases of it in raw poultry, dog treats and shrimp.
Notable Incidents: Canada and United States (2009)-400 in USA affected and 1 in Canada


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